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Trying so hard... need help with lower back pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by shelley_marie, May 1, 2016.

  1. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi All

    I've been unregistered on this site for about a year now reading all the wonderful advice etc but its come to the time where i need help. As i write this i'm in tears as i feel i have really reached rock bottom. I have been suffering with TMS in my lower back for over 4 years now and i feel like it's taken my life away - i am no longer the strong and confident person i used to be, i'm a depressed shadow of my former self. I have pain continuously but most when i lift anything, when i stand from sitting or vice versa, when i bend to brush my teeth, put my trousers or shoes on, when i pick up my baby, when i sneeze. The most upsetting thing is not feeling like i can cope with the baby as i struggle to lift her and shes only 16 weeks old and small! I worry about how i'll cope with her as she grows bigger. My partner needs to help me with everything and he's so supportive.

    About a year ago i read Dr Sarno's Healing Back Pain and can honestly say that the moment i put the book down my pain was gone. I was astonished and immediately went and put on my shoes with ease (normally in pain), i went outside and jogged down the street (pain free!) i was overjoyed. i rang all my friends in tears and told them because i just couldn't believe it, i was walking down the street without a hint of the dreadful pain i had been experiencing. It took only a day for the pain to come back.

    I have been to speak to a therapist about my pent up issues, i read the book again and again, i saved the 10 mantras to the home screen of my phone, i gave up all treatments and went back to exercise, i did pilates, i journalled, i read positive reviews of the book and watched Youtube videos of success stories, i even got diagnosed by a TMS doctor here (UK). But after all this i still couldn't shift the pain. i'm at a loss at what to do and i find it desperately unfair that i just cannot shift this when i'm trying so hard and doing all of the above. I'm envious of those who's pain goes after just reading the book. As i mentioned above i have a 16 week old baby and 6 weeks ago i also broke my foot making it impossible to look after her. I'm on my foot again this week but its been so hard.

    Most people would be excited at packing for a week in Spain (i leave tomorrow) but if i'm honest i would rather not go. I'm in so much pain its difficult to pack my clothes let alone that of my daughter and everything that comes with a baby! The thought of the preparation is just overwhelming and i don't want to have to rely on my partner 24/7.

    I'm really sorry to sound so miserable but i'm talking from the heart and not putting on the 'happy front' that i do around other people.

    Any support, advice, people in a similar situation would be HUGELY appreciated.

    Shelley x
  2. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    I am very sorry to hear about what you are going through, I understand it and have also experienced it. You are overwhelmed because you are so depleted from the trauma.
    I feel like you are preoccupied with the pain, which I understand because I was too, but this is what you can work on changing. Outcome independence is what will make the difference. I have mostly achieved this, see my success story, by accepting completely that the pain is being caused by my brain and is of no importance to me physically. I decided to do everything like a normal healthy strong person would and if the pain came I would focus on slowing down my breath, and reassuring myself that there was nothing wrong with me physically. I would do this in stages so as not to freak myself out. Gradually I could do more and more without the pain appearing. But my goal became facing my fear of different activities/positions that had 'activated' me and controlling my 'fight or flight' physical response by slowing my breath and relaxing any tense muscles/areas of my body and addressing any anxiety/fear.

    Become aware of any internal bully
    that may be criticising your efforts to recover or making you feel inadequate in your own journey. Be kind to yourself only, any negative voice in your head can be personified and told off/diminished. Be consistent with this and your self confidence will grow.

    I relate to this too and I had to work on looking after my own emotional needs first.

    You can do this, I have no doubt.
    shelley_marie likes this.
  3. allinthemind

    allinthemind Peer Supporter

    Sorry to hear how bad you have become, u say you are 'rock bottom' so there is only 1 way for you to go now. I think acknowledging that would be good. I have started meditating a lot in the past weeks and find it is helping. I use an app called 'headspace' and I also used guided meditation, partially meditations about 'connecting to higher self' or 'healing'. About 2 months ago I bought a notepad and wrote down everything TMS in it, my understanding of it, why I think I have it (symptoms), reasons for it, strategies to overcome it, positive affirmations then journaling. The pain has come and gone from the foreground in the last few weeks but I think meditating has especially helped particularly with sleep too.

    20160502_081358.jpg S9rk ,
    shelley_marie likes this.
  4. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    Try your best to ignore and/or accept the pain, and enjoy your trip as best you can.
    Fake it till you make it, as they say.

    Remember, the pain can't really hurt you, it's just TMS. You can't really make it worse by sittng or standing or putting on shoes. The only thing that makes it worse is worrying and thinking about it.

    A change of scenery is good for the soul, despite the stress and strain of travel. I wish you the best.
    shelley_marie likes this.
  5. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    So sorry, Shelley, that your pain has flared. Of course you're stressed! You have a new baby!
    I'd suggest trying to carve just s few minutes out of your crazy day that are just for you. Start the SEP. Work it as slowly as you need to. You've beaten this once, so you KNOW it's possible. But be gentle with yourself along the way.
    Blessings on your journey.
    shelley_marie likes this.
  6. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Dearest Shelley. First thing I think of when I read your post is A NEW BABY IS LIFE-CHANGING!!! How do you FEEL about this change? I had bad back pain when my son was born (many years ago) and I can remember being so very scared to take care of this tiny little person! I had the pain for weeks. . . it hurt when I sat, got up, etc. As I became more comfortable taking care of this gorgeous little one, the pain did subside. Of course now in retrospect, I realize the pain I was having was TMS.

    Having a baby is on the Holmes-Rahne scale as one of life's major stressors. Major change in life circumstances. This is HUGE! How about sitting with how you really feel about this major change in your life?

    Also, while traveling is fun too, it brings its own stressors as well.

    Hugs to you and your little one!
    shelley_marie likes this.
  7. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    @birdsetfree Thank you for your response, it's really encouraging to hear your success story and know that I am not alone. I will try the outcome independence as I've not done this before and tend to focus on what i cant do. Fingers crossed x
  8. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    @allinthemind Thank you for your response, I have heard of Headspace but have not tried it, i will download it tonight x
  9. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    @Orion2012 Thank you for your words, you'll never believe what happened on holiday, the airline lost my suitcase so it was one more thing to worry about! It's difficult to get my head around the fact that the pain can't hurt me as twice on holiday i was literally stopped in my tracks by my back twanging out. I wll endeavor to look forward x
  10. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    @Gigi I will def try and have some 'me time' to do some more relaxation, I long for the day that pain goes again x
  11. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    @Lori Thank you. Well i had a tough time to start with with the feeding and getting used to having this little person around but I had just started to feel myself again after having the baby and then i broke my foot which changed everything and left me hauled up on the sofa for weeks :( However i did/do approach looking after the baby with trepidation as i worry about hurting my back so don't lift the car seat, take the pushchair down the stairs or anything, my partner has to do it for me (he works from home). I wish i could do all this myself as i think it would help with my confidence/independence but the pain is just too bad.

    What would you recommend? What did you do to make things easier on your back?

    You may have seen above that my suitcases were lost on holiday and i only got them on the last day, stressful! Hopefully now i'm home and back in my environment i can start working on things again x
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Shelley. I think it would help you a lot if you started the Structured Educational Program, free in the subforum of this web site. I had severe back pain and it helped me to heal. I journaled and discovered I had been repressing anger and frustrations since my parents divorced when I was sevfen. I did some thinking back on why they divorced, mainly financial problems, and through understanding them better, I was able to forgive them. My back pain then went aw2ay.
  13. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Thank you Walt, I will
  14. Orion2012

    Orion2012 Well known member

    The title of your thread reminded me of one the key things I learned during my recovery... Don't try too hard!

    Of course we want to try hard, we are TMSers! And we want so badly to be done with the pain. But pushing too hard is often the source of our suffering; we need a more gentle approach to healing.

    Be patient, go easy on yourself.
    shelley_marie likes this.
  15. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just came across your post, I don't know you, all I have to go on is what you've written here. My impression based on about 3 minutes of reading about your life is you are in such a hurry that you're missing some of the details that may be important, i.e., Dr. Sarno's "mantras", there are 12, not just 10. Maybe the 2 you missed are the ones you need to heal, I don't know. You healed overnight by reading the book and then relapsed--so it sound's like you had one hell of a great placebo effect. You were able to run, do pilates, have a baby, break your foot and go to Spain--that's a hell of a lot considering. Why did you go to Spain with all that going on since you really didn't want to? Could you have said to your partner, "I don't want to go to Spain right now,"--or was it your idea to go to Spain? Just reading your post made my tired, I can't imagine going to Spain with a baby, losing the luggage with a broken foot, that was very ambitious. You were dx'ed with TMS by a TMS physician in UK, so it's TMS. Care to share who the TMS doc was for others?

    Advice after knowing you for 3 minutes from your post: do what worked before, read TMS books and fill in the details that you may have missed like the two "daily reminders" of the twelve. Go back to the TMS physician and ask him what you should do, that's his job. Dr. Sarno's patients were patients for life and when they had relapses they came back to him for TMS boosters. There are TMS practitioners in the UK like Georgie Oldfield, who hold TMS conferences and meet-ups. Read Nicole Sach's TMS book "Truth", a lot of it was about growing up with TMS and children, she has five. Look at the Holmes-Rahe list of life events that cause stress and TMS tension, which one's have you gone through in the past year?

  16. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi Tennis Tom, great to hear from you.

    You are right, i'm in a hurry to get rid of this TMS now as its been going on for so long but the 10 mantras instead of 12 was a typo :) as i was trying to recite all the different things I had done over the course of the last few years.

    The placebo effect i didn't even believe myself as i was quite skeptical when i started out reading the book, I even rejected the idea that my problem was not structural but psychological. But by the end of it i felt Dr Sarno had just been describing me. The pilates, running etc were all done in an effort to try and reject the idea of structural abnormality and maintain a normal life even though they really hurt at the time. The baby, well i had put that on hold for 4 years hoping my back would get better and when i was offered spinal fusion surgery that wasn't guaranteed to work i thought 'what the hell' i'm just going to have the baby now as i don't want such drastic surgery when its not even guaranteed to work, I even hoped the relaxing of the muscles during pregnancy might help me. Spain i didn't have a choice as it was for my mother in law's 70th birthday celebrations and i didn't want to let the family down. Well i did have a choice but as with other TMS'ers it's just my nature not to let people down.

    The physician I was diagnosed by I was not 100% sure of as he was loath to speak about the notion of TMS outside the consulting room due to the skeptics out there. Personally I felt a medical professional should be helping patients, spreading the word on TMS and not be afraid of the diagnosis, but instead it seemed to be brushed under the carpet. As an example, after diagnosis I wanted documentation on the condition, it's causes and symptoms for my pregnancy notes to inform the midwives caring for me during pregnancy in case i had a bad relapse or something happened. This was not done and so i was left to try and explain the condition myself. I ended up taking Dr Sarno's book into check-ups with me to try and explain the condition myself. No-one had heard of it so they were naturally skeptical, I did not have a Dr's note from a trained professional and so felt pretty helpless as it was just my word.

    I will definitely look up Georgie Oldfield as i'm keen to speak to another TMS practitioner. I also plan to do all you have mentioned above in a bid to fight this. Thank you for your valued feedback Tom
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
    Tennis Tom likes this.

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